Human fear-related motor neurocircuitry

T. Butler, H. Pan, O. Tuescher, A. Engelien, M. Goldstein, J. Epstein, D. Weisholtz, J. C. Root, X. Protopopescu, A. C. Cunningham-Bussel, L. Chang, X. H. Xie, Q. Chen, E. A. Phelps, J. E. Ledoux, E. Stern, D. A. Silbersweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and an experimental paradigm of instructed fear, we observed a striking pattern of decreased activity in primary motor cortex with increased activity in dorsal basal ganglia during anticipation of aversive electrodermal stimulation in 42 healthy participants. We interpret this pattern of activity in motor neurocircuitry in response to cognitively-induced fear in relation to evolutionarily-conserved responses to threat that may be relevant to understanding normal and pathological fear in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 30 2007


  • amygdala
  • anxiety
  • basal ganglia
  • fMRI
  • freezing
  • motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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